The educational changes in 19th century seem to be more effective in setting the pace and direction of political changes in India than what one would expect from economic and technological change. Discuss critically.
Published: September 20, 2016
British during its ninety-year of direct rule in India had brought some visible pro-India changes only in sphere of education as economic exploitation of India by the Raj is a well-established history. Technology-borne development was in its infancy barring some progress in transport and communication system in British India.
Education played a key role in materialising India’s independence in 1947. The education system in the second half of 19th century spread western education more in English than in vernacular languages. However, it proved as a blessing in disguise as English-educated Indians became acquainted with western liberal thoughts, democracy, equality and justice. Education during the Raj helped in spreading national consciousness that gave birth to ‘one India’; latter, freedom from the colonial rule. In fact, the architects of India’s freedom including Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were products of western education. Education helped integrate the diverse elements Indian society, thereby creating a new common bond from among conflicting loyalties.
Introduction of English as common language, education through vernacular languages, above all, promotion of western education to produce intermediaries between the British and British India were a few among many measures that British too realise its goal of smooth administration in India.
Neither economic nor technological changes were effective in setting the pace of socio-political changes in 19th-century India; it was rather educational changes that ruled the roost.
Model Questions Category: 004 - Modern Indian History - Significant Events